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Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Antony Gormley's Icon and Noetic at Sadler's Wells

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE UK premieres of two works choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, with designs by his regular collaborator, the sculptor Antony Gormley, are presented by Swedish contemporary dance company GöteborgsOperans Danskompani at Sadler’s Wells this autumn.

Led by artistic director Katrín Hall, in its first visit to Sadler’s Wells the company presents Icon on Friday, November 30 and Noetic on Saturday, December 1, 2018.

In Icon, which was created in 2016, three-and-a-half-tonnes of clay are molded, heaped and shaped by 18 dancers from both GöteborgsOperans Danskompani and Cherkaoui’s own company, Eastman. Coating themselves and each other, they perform in the ritualistic creation, destruction and ultimate replacement of their graven idol to the sound of traditional songs from the Amami Islands, French ballads and medieval compositions.

In Noetic, created in 2014, 19 black-clad dancers, elegantly dressed by fashion design duo Les Hommes, manipulate pliable carbon fibres designed by Gormley. This exploration of noetic (from the Greek “noesis” meaning intellect) philosophy features live music by Szymon Brzóska, performed on stage by singer Miriam Andersén and taiko drummer Shogo Yoshii. Noetic examines humanity’s need to both control the world and escape from its rules.

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani is one of the most prestigious contemporary dance companies in Europe and the largest in the Nordic region. The 38 dancers, of over 20 different nationalities, all have strong individual creative identities and collectively form an energetic, dynamic force. The company focusses mainly on original and exclusive works, created on location in Gothenburg by some of today’s most renowned choreographers and emerging artists in collaboration with international teams, composers and musicians. The company is frequently invited as a guest for international, special performances.

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani Artistic Director Katrín Hall says: “GöteborgsOperans Danskompani is proud to have established and developed an ongoing working relationship with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui as an artist, as well as with his production company Eastman, as co-producer and close collaborator. Sadler’s Wells is a prestigious venue and we are truly excited to be invited to present these two creations in London.

“I will let Sidi Larbi’s and Anthony Gormley´s creations speak for themselves and let them communicate through the excellent dancers of our own dance company, and our honoured guests, the wonderful dancers, musicians and composers from Eastman.”

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has made more than 50 choreographic pieces and received numerous awards, including two Olivier Awards, three Ballet Tanz Awards for best choreographer (2008, 2011, 2017), and the Kairos Prize (2009) for his artistic vision and his quest for intercultural dialogue. 2008 saw the world premiere of Sutra, produced by Sadler’s Wells. This award-winning collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Antony Gormley and the Shaolin monks continues to tour the world to great critical acclaim.

In 2010, with the founding of his company Eastman (in residence at deSingel International Arts Campus) in Antwerp, Cherkaoui began a new phase in his trajectory, marked by the multiple-award-winning Babel(words), co-choreographed with Damien Jalet and designed by Gormley. In 2015, Cherkaoui assumed the role of artistic director at the Royal Ballet of Flanders, where he created Fall (2015), Exhibition (2016), and Requiem (2017). He remains artistic director of Eastman and is also an Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells.

Sir Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations, and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. Gormley’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the UK and internationally. Gormley was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999, the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007, the Obayashi Prize in 2012, and the Praemium Imperiale in 2013.

In 1997 he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) and was made a knight in the New Year’s Honours list in 2014. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an Honorary Doctor of the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7863 8000 or visit